For the past several years, it has been my pleasure to be the chairman of the James Raymond Scholarship Committee. With the help of our friends from Ignite the Spirit, we have given out over $50,000 in scholarships to the children of Chicago firefighters. And, at the last dinner in 2009, James Raymond was recognized by the Chicago Fire Commissioner as an honorary firefighter. A proclamation was read by the Commissioner and presented to the Raymond family. Anyone who was there will never forget it. We all felt it was the highlight of our work on the committee.
During the last few years, mostly due to the economy, it has become increasingly difficult to continue to raise money. Sadly, we have to announce that this year we awarded our last scholarship at the fireman's ball to Maggie Stutz, daughter of a fireman and grand-daughter of Edward Stutz who responded to the fire with ladder Co. 39. I met Ed at the dinner. A true hero, he also landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. We didn't have money for the full scholarship, but Ignite the Spirit helped us out.
As difficult as it has been at times to pick a recipient, it has always been very rewarding for all of us. We've met some wonderful people in this process. The families of the recipients were so appreciative. The recipients themselves were tremendous kids. It's inspiring to see the things they do at such a young age. What Kenny and Rich from Ignite the Spirit do on their own time to help families of firefighters is just amazing.
I'd like to thank the committee members, Jane Cozzi, Matt Plavonich, Frank Vanisi and Pat Pierro. Thanks to Betti Wasek for asking me to do this and thanks to John Raymond, my friend since the second grade. Thanks to all of you who supported the scholarship over the years, and especially those of you who came to the dinners.